Back up drug found for severe malaria

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 20 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:134

Artemether, the active ingredient of a traditional Chinese remedy for fever, is as effective as quinine in severe malaria and could become increasingly important if quinine resistance spreads, researchers say.

Plasmodium falciparum is gradually becoming more resistant to quinine in Asia, and in many places there may soon be no adequate treatment for severe malaria. Most worrying is the possibility of resistance spreading to Africa, where most deaths from malaria occur. Artemether, derived from the wormwood plant, is more easily administered than quinine. It is the principal active component of the traditional Chinese remedy qinghaosu, used for thousands of years as a cure for …

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